'Temporary' Langwathby Bridge nears 50th birthday

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Image caption,
The bridge is only wide enough for one vehicle

Villagers in Cumbria are celebrating a "temporary" bridge which was built after the previous structure washed away 50 years ago today.

The metal bridge over the River Eden at Langwathby was constructed after its 300-year-old sandstone predecessor was destroyed by floods on 25 March 1968.

Villagers say they would still like a permanent bridge to be built.

A number of community events are planned over upcoming weeks including a party.

The bridge was originally intended to be kept in place for 10 years.

Susan Grave, a former Langwathby resident whose father Jim Monkhouse captured the floods and their aftermath on film, said: "I remember getting up at eight o'clock in the morning.

"All there was left was a pillar in the middle of the river. Everything else had collapsed, it was horrific.

"It was a meeting point for all the village. Everybody came down to see how the new bridge was progressing from one day to the next.

"A new bridge would be nice, but I think it's unlikely today with the pull on funding."

Image caption,
Susan Grave fears the opportunity to build a new bridge has been missed

Mr Monkhouse's film will be played at the village hall next week, while a party is planned for late May to mark the 50th anniversary of the completion of the replacement bridge.

Eden Valley district councillor Doug Banks, who is also chairman of Langwathby Parish Council, said previous efforts to replace the structure had been unsuccessful.

An attempt in 1999 fell through when the government declined to match a £2m funding offer from the Millennium Commission, he said.

"We formed a little committee and we're going to celebrate it," Mr Banks told BBC Cumbria.

"It'll probably still be here in another 50 years.

"However, we'd like to see it go and a nice modern two-way bridge put in its place."

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